Noisy as the Grave

Noisy as the Grave

Philip O’Leary

An English rendering of a classic modernist Irish novel has found a translator who can do justice to its playfulness, delight in puns, neologisms, scurrilities and malapropisms and its ability to create and sustain a coherent world through rolling floods of words.

More
The Romantic Englishman

The Romantic Englishman

Enda O’Doherty

George Orwell is celebrated as the man who made political writing an art. But if he was a brilliantly gifted, and often funny, polemical writer, politically he was frequently off the mark, right about one big thing but hopelessly wrong about many small ones.

More
The City Mapped

The City Mapped

Patrick Duffy

Two new volumes from the Royal Irish Academy illustrate the enormous variety and detail of eighteenth and nineteenth century Dublin, with its fine streets and walks, alleys and stable lanes, barracks, watchhouses, infirmaries , penitentiaries and multifarious manufactories.

More

The Big Picture

Sara Goek

A transnational perspective can complement national history and breathe new life into insular debates. It has the potential to both open up new research areas and to expand our understanding of topics that might otherwise seem tired and overwrought.

More

The Old Order and the New

Eoin O’Malley

Fianna Fáil dominated the old three-party – or two-and-a half-party system - for so long due to political skill and its good fortune in usually being out of office when recession struck. But now the old system is changing in favour of a new one in which class and demographics count for more.

More

The American Nightmare

James Wickham

A new book by Robert Putnam, whose ‘Bowling Alone’ popularised the concept of social capital, examines growing income inequality in the United States and argues that the affluent and the poor now increasingly live in worlds completely isolated from one another.

More

Between Two Rooms

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

For many Irish emigrants, and particularly female ones and better educated ones, moving abroad has been less a question of exile than one of escape. For writers, however, there is frequently no escape from considering what it means to be Irish, or to be Irish abroad.

More

Sound, from Top to Toe

Carlo Gébler

The work of the Fermanagh poet and editor Frank Ormsby is notable for its quietness, its lucidity, its scrupulous particularity and specificity, its modesty (there is no showing off – ever), its respect for the reader, and – hold onto your hats – its accessibility.

More

Wild Geese and Clerical Bohemians

Andy Pollak

Prague’s Franciscan College, set up in the 1630s to send missionary priests back to Ireland, flourished through its contacts with an influential expatriate community of soldiers and doctors. Soon, however, it was to develop a reputation for quarrelling and irregularity.

More

Words The Wind Blew In

John Feehan

Robert Macfarlane writes of the power certain words possess to enchant our relations with nature and place, a power that comes from contact with the experienced reality of the natural world. If that power is waning, perhaps it is because such contact seldom now occurs.

More

World Without End

Lia Mills

Marilynne Robinson’s three Gilead novels amount to a masterclass in perspective and in the use of telling detail to construct character and story. Part of their extraordinary power is their ability to return to the same events with a fresh point of view, without ever feeling repetitive.

More

The Rolling English Road

Andrew Lees

Jim Phelan, born in the last decade of the nineteenth century in Inchicore in Dublin, was condemned to death for murder, served a long sentence in various prisons and on his release became a tramp, a novelist and a writer and broadcaster on the traditions of tramps and gypsies.

More

Working Class Heroes

Seamus O’Mahony

The ghosted autobiography of Roy Keane and a biography of England’s 1966 World Cup golden boy Bobby Moore illustrate hugely contrasting personalities, but also the enormous changes that have come over the culture of the beautiful game during the last fifty years.

More

I am an automobile

Calista McRae

A new study argues that John Berryman’s poetry is far more than id, psychosis, and despair, bringing out Berryman’s intelligence and his careful thinking about the modern world, which has often been ignored in favour of accounts that portray a wild, whisky-inspired genius

More

Laughing Matters

James Moran

The outstanding English comic novelist of his generation, David Lodge has managed to extract humour in book after book from two main subjects: the competitiveness and egoism of academic life and the follies of the Catholic Church’s attempts to instruct its flock on how to conduct their sex lives.

More

How to be a Dub

Tom Inglis

Is it sufficient to have been born in the capital to be a true Dub? What if your parents and grandparents were born there too, but on the middle class southside? Would this let you in or do you have to have been born within the sound of the Hill 16 roar and talk like dis?

More

News from the Glen

Proinsias Ó Drisceoil

The reissue of an ‘imaginative biography’ which first appeared in 1963 and which was written in the now defunct Tipperary Irish dialect reminds us of a time when Irish-language publishing was moving away from accounts of Gaeltacht life and beginning to favour modernism.

More

Strangely (un)Christian

Emily Holman

The central characters in Michael Faber’s new novel seem to be made of Christian ingredients, yet to speak and think in ways incompatible with who they profess to be. And though the novel improves, this tonal blip tends to make for an erratic reading experience.

More

Signs of the Times

Keith Payne

A new Dublin history book is more than just a roll-call of past businesses in the city. It is what much poetry attempts to be, a version of the city that stops you and makes you turn again on your wander through the city centre, tilt your head upwards and take notice.

More

Eating Crow

George O’Brien

An arresting debut novel is a notable contribution to the genre of Irish populist gothic and is dark enough to make one wonder if it might not be the last word on broken-family, ruined-child tropes of betrayal and inadequacy.

More

The Canon in Irish Language Fiction

Brian Ó Conchubhair and Philip O’Leary

A conference held in Dublin earlier this year set itself the difficult task of identifying the fifteen leading Irish language novels published in the twentieth century. Much debate was occasioned, and will no doubt continue, but a list of (in fact sixteen) works was arrived at.

More

Necessary Things

Richard Hayes

There are no pyrotechnics in Gerald Dawe’s new collection; the poems go about their business quietly, presenting the reader, it seems, with cases to be considered, never forcing ‑ neither in formal terms nor in argument ‑ the reader towards certain ends.

More

Church Militant

Jeffrey Burwell

A collection of narratives of the lives of eleven Jesuit priests who served as chaplains in the British army during the First World War offers an analysis of the complex situations Irish chaplains faced and the sometimes unexpected pastoral needs encountered on the battlefield.

More

An Unknown Kingdom

Joe Woods

The Burmese poet Ko Ko Thett, now living in Belgium, has garnered high praise for his work, particularly from the high priest of American experimentalist poetry John Ashberry, who has characterised his verse as ‘brilliantly off-kilter’.

More

Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang

Pauline Hall

The first of a series of essays on fictions inspired by the 1916 Easter Rising looks at a work by Raymond Queneau, a French disciple of Joyce whose total experience of Ireland, he has admitted was a short stopover at Shannon Airport on the way to the United States.

More

Echoes from the Cistern

Thomas McCarthy

There is nothing tentative, or merely suggestive, in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s new collection. Her academic training is outraged by vagueness, so that the poems grab a firm hold of their subject-matter; the work is pre-meditated, never a pen shuffling in the hope of inspiration.

More

James McFadden

James McFadden grew up in Donegal, the son of a travelling salesman. He himself operated a touring picture show and then a cinema in the town of Falcarragh, while also learning the trade of a tailor. But the business, eventually, failed to prosper and the family moved to Coventry to seek work.

More

Rousing the Reader

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

It is language itself ‑ its multiplicity, its straining after meaning, the assumptions buried within it ‑ that are illuminated by Paul Muldoon’s work, with the best poems, in his words, giving the alert reader the answers ‘to questions that only they have raised’.

More

The Persuaders

John Fanning

There seems to be a dearth of evidence that political ad campaigns actually work. Nevertheless, politicians are always open to the advice of advertising professionals on how to simplify their message and get it across to the public in a way they will find palatable.

More

On Not Being Smart Enough

Clara Fischer

Philosophy remains one of the least diverse disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. While great strides have been made in other subject areas, certainly in the European and North American context, university philosophy still includes woefully few women.

More

A Fierce Eye

Gerald Dawe

At the heart of Derek Mahon’s new prose collection there is a lot of truth-telling going on about the artist’s life. It is a far cry from the showy, silly lifestyle version we are offered daily from media-hungry celebs, asking the reader to feel their pain.

More

Florence O’Donoghue

Caroline Hurley

Born in Killarney in 1928, the son of a former RIC man, Florence O’Donoghue had an eminent career in the law in England and spent much of his life trying to make sense of his dual, and sometimes conflicting, sense of allegiance to both Ireland and Britain.

More

The Tories, Europe and Scotland

If the UK votes to leave the European Union could Scotland be dragged out against its will? And in those circumstances could another independence referendum be resisted?

More

Death and Life of the Bookshop

Adam Gopnik laments the recent closure of a famous Parisian bookshop. Elsewhere, however, la lutte continue, the fight continues.

More

An Awful Lot of Catholics

A venerable British intellectual publication is celebrating a significant birthday with a conference that brings together some very well-regarded names.

More

A city frozen in time

The prevailing culture in Dublin is one of conservation: we don't like the new or the modern, preferring the old and crumbling. So why then has there been such sentiment about the Poolbeg chimneys, symbols of an industrial era we seem to be happy to turn our backs on?

More

Don't understand, just be afraid

After graduating from Columbia, John Berryman headed to Cambridge. 'Yeats, Yeats, I'm coming! It's me!' a later poem has him exclaiming from the ship.

More

Britain Brought To Book

Back in 1988, in a speech in Bruges, Margaret Thatcher laid down the law to the Europeans as to how they should run their show. She did at least acknowledge, however, that Europe was something with which Britain was connected.

More

In Praise Of Ali Smith

Alex Clark pays tribute to novelist Ali Smith for her generous work on behalf of other literary practitioners, and in particular her championing of first-time authors.

More

Misunderstanding Orwell

'Nineteen-Eighty Four' was first published sixty-six years ago today. Some people seemed to think that Big Brother was based on the unlikely figure of Clement Attlee.

More

If the Brits had won ...

If Tom Barry and Winston Churchill had succeeded in reigniting the Anglo-Irish War, who would have emerged victorious? And would Ireland now enjoy a system of universal health care?

More

Jeering the men of 1916

It is fairly well known that volunteers captured in 1916 were sometimes jeered at by crowds of working class Dubliners on their way to imprisonment. What exactly can we read into this and what does it tell us about the legitimacy of the rising?

More

If at first you don't succeed ...

Ingeborg Rapoport was a recent medical graduate when she finished her doctoral thesis on diphtheria in Hamburg in 1938. But she was not allowed to submit it as her mother was of Jewish origin.

More

Saul Bellow Brought To Book

Saul Bellow was not the first, but he was one of the earlier and most dominant of the Jewish writers who played such a big part in 20th-century American literature.

More

Peter Gay: 1923 - 2015

Peter Gay, who fled Berlin with his family as a schoolboy, settling in the United States, was one of the most eminent historians of the Enlightenment. He was also a biographer of Freud and wrote other books on modern German and Austrian history.

More

Slugging It Out

A new group, Historians for Britain, argues that Britain's 'special' historical path means it should tell the EU to bog off. A rival group, Historians for History, argues that there is no such special path. There will be blood.

More

Labour's Scottish Woes

This week's UK election is one of the most uncertain for decades. But one thing is sure: Labour will do disastrously in Scotland. And the likelihood is that that situation will persist until such time as the Scottish party can effectively assert its independence from the English one.

More

Cheap and Cheerful

George Orwell thought that paperbacks were a good idea, particularly for the reader. But he also thought publishers and booksellers should combine to suppress them.

More

Trollope and Ireland: A Talk

John McCourt, Joycean scholar and chronicler of the Trieste years, will be talking about Anthony Trollope's Irish novels in Books Upstairs, D'Olier Street on Sunday, April 19th.

More
New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring new poetry from Jane Clarke, Dermot Healy and John McAuliffe; as well as new fiction from Ireland's Laureate for Fiction, Anne Enright, and Dermot Bolger.

More

World Literature

Featuring Jane Smiley's second novel in the Last Hundred Years trilogy; and new novels from Toni Morrison and Mario Vargas Llosa.

More

Irish History & Politics

Featuring Irish Doctors in the First World War and a biography of the cultural nationalist and Gaelic Leaguer, Domhnall Ua Buachalla.


More

World History & Politics

Featuring Interviews with New Left Review, with the celebrated literary critic Raymond Williams; and a collection of Letters to Palestine.

More

Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring David Blake Knox's history of Ireland and the Eurovision; and The Catholic Church in Ireland Today.

More

World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Oliver Sack's autobiography On the Move.

More

Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring Padraig Yeates’s A City in Civil War Dublin; Maurice Walsh's Bitter Freedom; and Gavin M. Foster's The Irish Civil War and Society.

More

More New Books ...